July 22, 2013

In a recent Forbes Magazine article, Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry has speculated that, “The Jobs of the Future Don’t Require A College Degree”:

. . .A key point here: The jobs of the future are only “low skilled” if you define “low skilled” as not requiring college. Being a good carpenter (56% growth, Jesus is still with us) or, for that matter, a good medical secretary (41% growth), takes smarts (actual smarts, not just book smarts), hard work, and dedication.

Relatedly, the jobs of the future will be high-paying. It’s simply not true that all high-paying jobs require a college degree. It’s very very possible to make a very good living as a tradesman, because good tradesmen are–and always will be, unlike Fortran programmers and data entry clerks–in high demand.

“Helpers–Brickmasons, Blockmasons, Stonemasons, and Tile and Marble Setters” sounds like bottom-of-the-barrel work, but follow someone like Samuel-James Wilson, an award-winning bricklayer, on Twitter, or visit Guédelon Castle where contemporary tradesmen are building a 13th century castle with 13th century tools, to see that being a good bricklayer is as hard as being a good lawyer. . . .”

We should all look forward to the impending fall of the wall between business and education. That wall has separated the two sectors for many years, but the pressure of global economic competition is leading many to plan for that barrier’s demise. The historical separation is between business and that sector of the educational system responsible for the 75% or so of high school students who are not likely to earn a college baccalaureate degree. These students eventually comprise the majority of America’s front-line workforce, and the prosperity of this country depends on them.

Compared to other countries, American front-line workers lag far behind in the sophisticated skills needed for a country to compete internationally: communications, math, science, conceptual thinking, flexibility, responsiveness, and technological expertise. These are skills that most front-line workers in Japan and many European nations possess, to the ultimate economic benefit of their countries.

What these governments have learned about education and the workforce has been translated into comprehensive public education programs for the non-college-bound student. These programs all but obliterate the conventional lines between education and training.

America’s blue collar workforce is our lifeblood. These smart, talented individuals create, build and mold this nation’s future. They are among our leading citizens and are deserving of the highest respect.

Without a highly trained workforce we will find ourselves at a disadvantage in a global economy. (The people who merely trade paper back and forth will be of little help if the needs of our blue-collar population are ignored.)

Training remains the single best answer — be it in high school, community college, or by industry itself!

More on Wednesday – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder
ITC Learning (Mondays & Wednesdays)